The more I learn about the amazing medicinal qualities and properties of CBD, the more impressed I am. I’ve written a lot about the benefits from CBD that people are reporting, as well as the research that supports their stories. This blog post is different in that it looks into the potential that CBD seems to offer as a preventive compound. I think we can all agree that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of just about anything! To imagine being able to prevent even one health challenge makes me both happy and optimistic. And now, having completed the research to write this post, I can truly say that I am equally impressed with the preventive potential of CBD as I am with its known benefits.
I remain absolutely fascinated by the human body and its beautiful, complex, miraculous workings. What an amazing thing that the human body has an entire system designed to effectively process cannabinoids! Endocannabinoids are literally a bridge between body and mind, creating intricate processes of cellular activity in the human immune system, nervous system, and virtually every one of the human body’s organs. Cannabinoid therapy works as an element of a biological mosaic that blends the body and brain in a mix of relative health conditions. Cannabinoids, including CBD, are similar to the chemicals created by the human body, so they integrate better than synthetic drugs. Working to understand this system and its processes opens up the possibility of a mechanism that weaves brain activity with states of physical health and/or disease into an elegant tapestry. Everyone knows that when we don’t feel very well physically, it quickly takes a toll on how we’re feeling mentally, as well. The workings of the mind and the body are intricately connected in complicated pulses and rhythms, and a glitch of any sort affects both. There is an immense truth to the old cliché about getting sick and tired of being sick and tired!
I’ve tried to address the ways in which CBD works as a preventive entity for a variety of ailments that affect huge numbers of people. Knowing that so many people are struggling to manage these conditions, and many others, I hope you share my enthusiasm for the potential that CBD offers as a preventive compound.
Diabetes and Obesity
Emerging research into the interplay between cannabinoids and insulin regulation is demonstrating potential toward major breakthroughs in the prevention of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Several studies have shown that regular cannabis users have lower body mass index, smaller waist circumferences, and corresponding reduced risk of diabetes and obesity. CBD helps the body convert white fat into weight-reducing brown fat, promoting normal insulin production and sugar metabolism. In 2006, CBD was shown to lower the incidence of diabetes in lab rats. Additionally, a 2011 report published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, based on a survey of more than 52,000 participants, concluded that rates of obesity are about one-third lower among cannabis users, despite the fact that participants tend to consume more calories per day. This is probably related to THC’s stimulation of a hormone that increases appetite while simultaneously increasing metabolism of carbohydrates. Furthermore, researchers have found that cannabis users have fasting insulin levels up to 16% lower than non-users, higher levels of HDL cholesterol that protects against diabetes, and 17% lower levels of insulin resistance. Respondents who had used cannabis earlier in their lifetime but were not current users showed similar but less pronounced associations, indicating that the protective effect of cannabis is beneficial over time, though at lower rates. Similarly, a 2013 study measured data from 4,652 participants on the effects of cannabis on metabolic systems between non-users, current users, and former users. This research found that current users had higher blood levels of “good cholesterol.” That same year, an analysis of over 700 members of Canada’s Inuit community found that, on average, regular cannabis users had increased levels of good cholesterol and slightly lower levels of “bad cholesterol.”
Cardiovascular & Heart Health
CBD has been shown to enhance heart health and play a role in reducing potential risk factors for heart disease. A study published in 2017 demonstrated that CBD efficiently reduced blood pressure. The same study also demonstrated that CBD can alter the way the body responds to stress, a factor which is a common cause of elevated blood pressure and a major contributing factor of heart disease and heart attack. This means that by taking CBD, we could be able to maintain healthy blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of heart disease and heart attacks. Research has also identified that CBD is beneficial for enhancing blood flow, inducing vascular relaxation, and influencing the survival and migration of white blood cells throughout the body. Although more research is needed to fully understand all the ways CBD can play a role in preventative heart health, these studies show the positive implications that taking CBD could have on cardiovascular health.
Additionally, a growing body of evidence suggests that endocannabinoid signals play a critical role in the pathology of atherogenesis, a condition common in Western developed nations that can lead to heart disease or stroke. The condition is a physical response to injuries in the lining of arterial walls caused by high blood pressure, infectious microbes, or an excessive presence of homocysteine, an amino acid. A chronic inflammatory disorder, atherosclerosis involves progressive deposits of immune cells carrying oxidized low-density lipoproteins (LDL), or atherosclerotic plaques. Studies have demonstrated that the inflammatory molecules which stimulate the cycle leading to atherosclerotic lesions prompt CB2 receptors to triple in response to the inflammation, allowing certain of the body’s natural cannabinoids to decrease dangerous inflammatory responses. This CB2 receptor is likewise stimulated by plant-based cannabinoids, including CBD. In 2006, researchers wrote that the capacity of cannabinoids to positively influence cellular inflammatory responses was “well established,” and suggested a broad therapeutic potential for a variety of conditions, including atherosclerosis.
Cannabinoids, including CBD, are neuroprotective, meaning they help maintain and regulate brain health. A large body of research has proven how CBD plays a role in supporting numerous neurological disorders including fibromyalgia, concussions, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and many more. Much of this research is still in the early stages, but the supporting evidence for using CBD to enhance brain health and prevent common neurological issues continues to increase. In one study, researchers found that CBD helped enhance the brain’s neuroplasticity and neurogenesis, and promote healthy brain cells. Another study also demonstrated that CBD is able to reduce oxidative stress in the brain, which contributes to the cognitive decline associated with the normal aging process. As the brain ages, the creation of new neurons slows significantly. In order to maintain brain health and prevent degenerative diseases, new cells need to be continuously created. A 2008 study showed that low doses of CBD- and THC-like cannabinoids encouraged the creation of new nerve cells in animal models, even in aging brains. CBD has been shown to help prevent other nerve-related diseases like neuropathy and Alzheimer’s disease.
Anxiety and other mental health symptoms are often exacerbated by poor sleep. A research paper published in the Permanente Journal showed that CBD efficiently reduced anxiety and improved sleep quality. Getting an adequate amount of sleep can play a role in breaking the cycle of many mental health conditions. CBD has been shown in clinical research to help people fall asleep easier and get higher quality, more restful sleep. Furthermore, numerous studies focus on using CBD for anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder, and others. Now, research is also demonstrating that CBD can play a role in preventing some of these mental health conditions.
CBD has been shown through multiple scientific studies to help with long-term bone health. One scientific review found that the endocannabinoid system plays a crucial role in the regulation of bone metabolism, controlling everything from how much fat is stored in bones to how many new bone cells are produced, and the rate at which older bone cells are being broken down. Additionally, a study published in 2009 found that endocannabinoid receptors help slow down bone decay that occurs through the normal aging process. Based on this evidence, CBD has been cited as a strong option for helping prevent common bone injuries and common bone diseases associated with aging. Cannabinoids, including CBD, help facilitate the process of bone metabolism—the cycle in which old bone material is replaced by new, which is crucial to maintaining strong, healthy bones over time. CBD has been shown to block an enzyme that destroys bone-building compounds in the body, reducing the risk of age-related bone diseases like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. CBD helps spur the process of new bone-cell formation, helping to heal broken bones.
Many people are replacing their usual skincare products with CBD products in hopes of preserving their healthy and youthful skin. A growing body of research supports this optimism for skin health. Research shows CBD can be used for reducing wrinkles, dark spots, and fine lines that present as the normal aging process. Additionally, CBD helps enhance skin health by protecting it from acne breakouts, eczema or psoriasis flare-ups, and more. CBD is gentle on sensitive skin, as it is non-abrasive. Research shows that CBD’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant qualities reduce inflammation in the skin and pores, preventing potential skin issues and breakouts, and research published in The Journal of Dermatological Science concluded that cannabinoids (such as CBD) can play an important role in supporting potential remedies for psoriasis. Topical CBD products are being used to treat and prevent skin cancers.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) reviewed numerous studies regarding the link between cannabis and cancer and found that the research has mixed results. For example, the results included an older study of 64,855 men from the United States which found that cannabis use did not increase the risk of tobacco-related cancers. However, this same study also found that male cannabis users who never smoked tobacco had an increased risk of prostate cancer. Several studies had already shown that THC prevents and reduces tumors, including one in 1996 on animal models that found decreased incidence of both benign and hepatic adenoma tumors. Other findings include:
• A 2012 study showed that animals treated with CBD were significantly less likely to develop colon cancer after being induced with carcinogens in a laboratory.
• In 2015, scientists analyzed the medical records of over 48,000 male patients in California and found that those who used cannabis but not tobacco had a rate of bladder cancer 45% below the norm.
• A 2015 study found a promising relationship between cannabis and bladder cancer. After adjusting for several factors, they found that that cannabis users had a 45% lower risk of developing bladder cancer.
• The possible link between inhaled marijuana and cancer remains inconclusive.
More long-term studies in humans are necessary to determine the exact role CBD can play in the prevention of cancer, and all other conditions! Luckily, the early evidence is promising, and I am hopeful that the studies will continue in order to truly assess and understand the amazing preventive qualities that CBD brings to the table.
Cannabidiol lowers incidence of diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice.
Obesity and Cannabis Use: Results From 2 Representative National Surveys
The Impact of Marijuana Use on Glucose, Insulin, and Insulin Resistance among US Adults
A single dose of cannabidiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study
Inflammation in Atherosclerosis: From Pathophysiology to Practice
Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain
The Best Brain possible
The role of cannabinoids in adult neurogenesis
CBD For Preventative Health
The Secret to Provacan Cbd
Marijuana Might Be Affecting Your Skin... And Not In The Ways You Thought
Can cannabis help treat psoriasis?
Preclinical and Clinical Assessment of Cannabinoids as Anti-Cancer Agents
Association between cannabis use and the risk of bladder cancer: results from the California Men's Health Study